No Silent Christians

Standard

My pastor recently said something that grabbed my attention:

There is no such thing as a silent Christian.

Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

I’ve often hid behind a quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. Perhaps you know it?

Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.

My thoughts have been, that in my life and online presence, I would let my actions speak first. People should know that I follow Christ due to:

  • What I like
  • What I post
  • And what I say about the content I consume

But something about that quote, that is falsely attributed to St. Francis, has always rang hollow to me. A sort of free pass Christians give to one another for never sharing what Christ has done/is doing in their lives; for never sharing the Gospel.

Even on this blog, I have internally struggled and fought over how much is too much to post, when it comes to the topic of faith. For those that follow me for my video game angle, are my faith posts somehow pushing them away? I have struggled with these thoughts for years. “I’ll just let my actions do the talking”, I’ve reasoned. As a follower of Christ though, I think that not speaking is disingenuous. So, I wanted to share my faith journey below.

Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

No Longer Silent

I grew up in a small town, in Southern California. My dad was a truck driver, while my mom stayed home and homeschooled us kids. My dad’s truck driving meant that he was home two days and gone three days. He worked hard to provide for our family. Looking back now, I can appreciate the sacrifice both of my parents made in raising my siblings and I. But in my dad’s absence, God filled that father-space, in my life, with many men. One such man was my Grandpa Ayers. Looking back, he taught me a lot about what it means to be a man.

I made a decision to follow Christ at the age of 5. My family was hosting a Vacation Bible School at our home. Even then, I understood that sin separated me from God.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

– Romans 3:23 (NIV)

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.

– Romans 6:23 (NIV)

And that because God loves us so much, He sent His son to die for us.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

– Romans 5:8 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

– John 3:16-17 (NIV)

All one has to do is accept this hope, this gift, and believe in Jesus Christ.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

– Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)

13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[a]

– Romans 10:13

All of that at the age of 5, huh Bryan? Yup. I knew enough to make that decision. God has walked with me and helped me grow in the knowledge of Him ever since.

In junior high, I made the decision to be baptized. Baptism is an outward sign, to fellow believers, that you have made a decision to follow Christ. I was at a youth beach day, and I was baptized in the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully, no sharks tried to aid in that baptism.

At the age of sixty, my Grandpa Ayers unexpectedly died overnight. I was looking at going away to college at this point, after attending junior college for a few years. I felt lost losing him. But God used his death to spur me on.

I was reading a book when a single sentence mentioned LeTourneau University. So, I traveled from Southern California to East Texas for a preview event… and felt peace. I went home, packed up my stuff, and I made the drive across Texas. Where I ended up meeting my now wife, Tabitha, within a month of being at school. (I was 25 and had never dated beforehand. Ignoring the Beach Boys, I didn’t want a California girl apparently.)

Tabitha and I married in 2007. Two years later, we had our son Wyatt. Last year at a Life Action Conference, we felt God calling us to adoption, after years of infertility. We finished jumping through the adoption hoops last May (2019), and we are waiting to grow our family. In the meantime, God continues to grow us.

There is no such thing as a silent Christian.

I’m hoping that by sharing where God has brought me, I can push against the silence and use words to share my faith. I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ first and foremost. I am then a husband to Tabitha, and a father to Wyatt.

This blog is my attempt to engage the world for Christ. To share the life He is working through me. Thanks for reading and coming along for the journey.

Big Dreams, Big Prayers Bible for Kids, NIV

Standard

The Big Dreams, Big Prayers Bible for Kids is a hardbound children’s Bible for ages 9-12. Features include:

  • Reading plans that both introduce and offer a guided tour of the Bible.
  • Highlighted verses to memorize, engage, and pray over.
  • Devotions perfect for personal or even family discussion.
  • Prayer journaling pages to help begin the practice of recording prayers and answers to prayer.
  • Glossy inserts explain how to use the Bible, how to pray, and how to be a Christian.
  • Easy to use Topical Index.

I enjoyed the overall focus and theme of Big Dreams, Big Prayers Bible for Kids. The hardbound cover provides durability; the size makes it easy for kids to hold. The print is clean and simple to read. Color choice is mature yet eye-catching. I will add that this Bible does not include maps to provide location context.

_240_360_Book.1806.cover

My family and I enjoyed the devotions. They are quick and thought-provoking. Perfect for after dinner discussions at the end of the day. But also applicable for personal use or small group teaching.

My wife and I both agree that this would be a perfect future Bible for our son. We’d definitely recommend Big Dreams, Big Prayers Bible for Kids.

I was given a copy of this book by BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: The Jesus Bible, NIV

Standard

The Jesus Bible, NIV is a children’s Bible that focuses on how Jesus is interwoven throughout scripture. Helpful features include:

  • A timeline of Jesus’ life
  • A simplified Family Tree of Jesus
  • Devotions for every day of the year
  • Biblical book introductions that answer the question of, “Where is Jesus in this book?”

The Good:
The Jesus Bible, NIV is presented in an easy to use format. As my son grows older, I can see myself working through this Bible with him. Parents should keep in mind that The Jesus Bible, NIV is geared towards kids ages 9-12.

_140_245_Book.1096.cover
I also like how the daily devotionals are short and simple to read. They include an opening theme verse, thought for the day, and a closing prayer. The devotionals serve as a great introductory tool to get children into a daily habit of reading scripture.

The Bad:
I have two complaints against The Jesus Bible, NIV: 1) The hardbound version that I was given to review is heavy. I realize that this does increase the life span of the Bible due to durability. But yet I wonder if a child would indeed carry a Bible that is so heavy. 2) I dislike the pink font that is used throughout the Bible. I think a more gender neutral color could have been chosen.

In Closing:
If you are looking for a children’s Bible that points towards Christ, look no further than The Jesus Bible, NIV.

I was given a copy of this book by BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Contentment

Standard

19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. – Ecclesiastes 5:19 (NIV)

In college, I had an English professor tell me that I needed to focus on what was in front of me or else life was going to pass me by. As a warning, she told a story about a relative, who was about my age, and highly career driven. In fact, he was so career driven that he was missing out on his young children growing up, etc. Instead of being so focused on the future, she said, you need to focus on what God has given you.

Contentment, as the above verse in Ecclesiastes says, is a blessing from God. A blessing that I am trying to slow down and enjoy.